Prisons that withhold menstrual pads humiliate women and violate basic human rights.
AZ Legislature, made up of mostly men, will decide whether women deserve to have more than 12 Pads per month for their menstrual cycle. Seriously?
Immediate step for immediate action! A huge victory for our women and our conscious! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF WOMEN WE JUST HELPED!!!
FROM AZ REPUBLIC:
After backlash, Arizona prison raises minimum number of free pads for incarcerated women.
A day after an Arizona lawmaker killed a bill to provide a free, unlimited supply of feminine-hygiene products to women in Arizona’s state prison, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced Tuesday evening that it will change its policy on the issue.
“The Arizona Department of Corrections appreciates and values the comments and feedback it has received in recent days regarding sanitary napkin products provided to female inmates. Department personnel have accordingly reviewed the department’s current policy and practice.
“As a result of this review, the department will continue to provide sanitary napkins free of charge to all of its female inmates, regardless of need. Effective immediately, the department will increase the minimum baseline quantity that inmates receive each month, from 12 to 36. As is the current practice, an inmate may request and, without charge, receive additional pads, if necessary. Additional product options will continue to be available through the inmate store.
“We believe this change addresses and resolves, in an appropriate and timely fashion, the concerns raised in the last week.”
After formerly incarcerated women testified in detail about the risks and humiliation caused by sanitary pad restrictions inside the Arizona prison system, a tribunal of men voted today to unlock a bill that would allow female prisoners to access as many sanitary pads as they need to manage their periods.
The Arizona prison system currently provides a maximum of 12 pads per month to all women inmates, forcing them to ration the way they manage periods, “free bleed,” or rely on unsanitary, solutions.
The bill introduced by Arizona state representative Athena Salman would change the arbitrary rules and enable women to access unlimited sanitary pads as needed — but first it had to pass the nine-man committee. Though they expressed their discomfort with some of the testimony, the men voted five-to-four to allow the bill to proceed to the House floor for a full hearing.To get additional pads, the women have to ask a guard, often a man, for permission and then pay for them using their commissary accounts. But many women, especially those who earn just 15 cents an hour performing prison labor, can’t afford the extra pads.
TAKE ACTION! Black Women of Faith has partnered with the AZ Humans Rights Committee to take action against this inhumane treatment of women in Arizona’s Prison System! ! Join Us! Sign Petition Here to Sign to Support the Menstrual Equity Bill! #LetitFlow
“Bloodstained pants, bartering and begging for pads was a regular occurrence,” one woman who was formerly incarcerated testified before the state House of Representatives Military,
Veterans, and Regulatory Affairs committee.
“You’ve got to really think if you want to sink One former inmate testified that guards punished women for possessing contraband when they find ripped pads turned into a tampon. Another said guards frequently denied requests for more pads.
“The humiliation is really something you carry with you forever,” said Sue Ellen Allen, who spent seven years at the state’s lone women’s prison which has about 4000 inmates.
Women receive 12 pads per month, allowing for only two changes a day in an average five-day monthly cycle. The lack of sanitary supplies is so bad in women’s prisons that pads fly right out of an inmate’s pants: prison maxi pads don’t have wings and they have only average adhesive so, when a woman wears the same pad for several days because she can’t find a fresh one, that pad often fails to stick to her underwear and the pad falls out. It’s disgusting but it’s true.
Arizona is not alone in being cheap with its supplies for women. Inmates in Michigan filed suit last December alleging that pads and tampons are so scarce that their civil rights have been violated. One woman bled through her uniform and was required to dress herself in her soiled jumpsuit after stripping for a search.
The reasons for keeping supplies for women in prison limited are not purely financial. Even though keeping inmates clean would seem to be in the prison’s self-interest, prisons control their wards by keeping sanitation out of reach. Stains on clothes seep into self-esteem and serve as an indelible reminder of one’s powerlessness in prison. Asking for something you need crystallizes the power differential between inmates and guards; the officer can either meet your need or he can refuse you, and there’s little you can do to influence his decision.
To ask a male guard for a tampon is humiliating in itself. But it’s more than that: it’s an acknowledgement of the fact that, ultimately, the prison controls your cleanliness, your health and your feelings of esteem.
There are ways to restore dignity to America’s inmates. For example, we could remove the entire sanitary supply problem if American prisons bought the newly-released Cherish Pads for female inmates, which are super absorbent, and help protect the environment as well. They are cost effective and promote proper health, hygiene, and well being.
Though many argue that prisoners cannot be pampered in jail, having access to sanitary pads is not a luxury – it is a basic human right. Just like no-one should have to beg to use the toilet, or be given toilet paper, women too must be able to retain their dignity during their menstrual cycle. Using periods to punish women simply has no place in any American prison.
CAMPAIGN #LETITFLOW #CodeRed
1. Write to AZ HOUSE OF REPS!
1700 West Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
2. Sign Petition! 📜 End This Bloody Mess!
3. Make Donation! ❣️ Let it Flow!
Salman, the bill’s sponsor, said an additional $80,000 by the state congress would provide unlimited sanitary products for all of the women in need for our state.
Edited by Katt Mckinney